Obama calls to express regret to Sherrod

Obama spoke to Sherrod in a seven-minute phone call, the White House said. The president told her that USDA Secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE was “sincere” when he apologized to Sherrod and said he would work to rid his department of racism on Wednesday.

Obama also told Sherrod that her “misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need, and he hopes that she will do so,” the White House said in a statement on the call.

Sherrod’s firing has become a political embarrassment for the White House, and Obama’s press secretary and Vilsack both apologized for it on Wednesday.

The USDA employee was fired after a short video of her remarks at an NAACP event were posted on a conservative website.

In the video, Sherrod, who is black, said she did not initially do everything she could to help a white farmer who came to her for help.

Vilsack fired her after seeing that short video, and before seeing Sherrod’s full remarks, which were about how she had learned from the episode. In Sherrod’s full remarks, she said she was wrong to initially consider race when the farmer came to her for help, and she said that everyone needed to learn to move forward.

The family involved came to Sherrod’s defense after she was fired, and said they would not have been able to keep their farm without her help.